Racial Disparities in Perinatal HIV Infections Decline Slightly

But African-Americans and Hispanics still account for lion's share of new diagnoses

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Racial disparities in perinatal HIV diagnoses have declined in recent years, although African-Americans and Hispanics still account for the majority of infections, according to research published in the Feb. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Margaret A. Lampe, R.N., and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention in Atlanta analyzed 2004 to 2007 data from 34 states on perinatal HIV infection.

The researchers found that, since the early 1990s, the annual number of perinatal diagnoses of HIV and AIDS infection has declined by 90 percent. Of all the perinatal HIV infections from 2004 to 2007, 69 percent occurred in African-Americans, while Hispanics or Latinos accounted for a further 16 percent, giving average annual perinatal HIV diagnosis rates for African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians of 12.3, 2.1 and 0.5 per 100,000 children, respectively, the investigators discovered. They also found that the racial disparity narrowed from 2004 to 2007, with diagnoses decreasing from 14.8 to 10.2 per 100,000 in African-Americans and from 2.9 to 1.7 in Hispanics.

"To further reduce perinatal HIV transmission and racial/ethnic disparities, HIV-infected pregnant women, and particularly black and Hispanic women, should receive timely prenatal care, early antiretroviral treatment, and other recommended interventions," the authors write.

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